Last Flight Home
The last leg of the trip has a different dynamic to it, though. Most of our trips are four days long, so by the end you're definately ready to go home, and you're grateful that after this flight you don't have to so much as think about airplanes for a few days. You're tired after four days and just want some time to recuperate. Then you'll by able to spend time with your spouse & family, get things that need done around the house, enjoy your free time.
Ontime performance is paramount on the last leg. Many crews try to depart 10 minutes early if all the passengers have shown up on time. Delays morph from nonevents into grating annoyances into personal affronts. When it's taking a long time to load cargo or confirm the passenger count, you look upon the station personnel with suspicion: They don't care that they're cutting into my free time! ATC delays: C'mon, it's like this controller knows it's the last leg! Major weather deviations: Great, now God hates me too. Particularly infurating are delays right at the end of the flight - when the final approach is inexplicably stacked up for 20 miles, or when you sit on a taxiway waiting for an open gate.
In General Aviation, this attitude has a name: Get-There-Itis. It's a major factor in accidents in the GA world. It's a credit to airline pilots that they don't let anxiousness to get home interfere with their professionalism or judgement. NTSB research has found that rather few airline accidents occur on the last day of a trip (the first day is most common).
After the parking checklist is complete, you suddenly realize that there's nothing left to do but clean up, grab your stuff, and go. Few crewmembers waste any time in doing just that. The end of the trip has a rhythm of it's own: walking through the airport, taking the crew bus to the employee lot, trying to remember where I parked my truck four days ago, admiring the sailboats on the Columbia as I cross the Glenn Jackson Bridge into Washington, checking up on the herd of sheep in the field as I turn onto my street, and finally turning into my driveway. I'm home! I don't have to even think about flying for another three days! Well, other than updating my blog, of course. :-)